Monday, July 31, 2017

Alfidi Capital at Google Demo Day 2017

I had to check out Google Demo Day 2017. I'm getting quite accustomed to seeing brand new stuff at Google Developers Launchpad in San Francisco and the Demo Day was right up my alley. I don't need to repeat what the competing startups said in their pitches, because that's not why my readers are here. They're here for my original insights. Yes, I'm talking to you.

Google Launchpad gave out booklets on Demo Day 2017.

I took away some pretty clear lessons for startup founders based on the give and take between the judges and the pitching startups. Target your first vertical aggressively. Know your biggest competitors (how to position yourself, and how they'll counter you). Clearly explain your user experience (UX). Briefly walk through a successful use case from a paying customer. Know your capital requirements and how scaling up will affect both capex and opex. Explain how your solution shortens a customer's procurement decision cycle, which will be longer in some hardware-intensive verticals.

The implied tasking for entrepreneurs who need to forecast capex and opex is to either thoroughly know financial analysis prior to launch or bring on a CFO immediately after raising Series A. I have mentored a few startup founders through the basics of business finance. It is not child's play.

The VC judges picked a winner among the pitching candidates, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was the one I picked as a winner before they voted. See folks, I do think like a VC. The winner was a financial market application, so I admit my natural bias in seeking something in my sector, but a few other startup candidates had some decent ideas. One idea that I thought would go nowhere was too easy for established competitors to duplicate.

Hey Google developers, you're going to see me at the Launchpad a lot more now that I know its location. I really like the shiny, snazzy name badges they sometimes make for attendees. I should get a permanent one since I plan to be there so often.